What Causes Vertigo and How Can It Be Helped?
Vertigo is described as the perception of motion when there is no motion present or the abnormal perception of motion in response to motion. In other words, you may feel like you are spinning or the things around you may seem to be spinning about. Or you may feel unsteady when you are trying to move because the brain and body are not in sync with what is really happening.
In addition to the sense of hearing, the ears play a huge role in controlling and helping with balance. The inner ears contain the semicircular canals and otolithic organs (the sensory organs of the vestibular system). These are the fastest sensors when it comes to the motion of the body.
When the ears sense movement, they begin to send signals to the muscles of the neck, eyes, arms, legs, and trunk of the body. This helps the organs to remain stable even as the body and head undergo complex motions. In order for us to move freely and yet keep our eyes fixed on a particular object, the vestibulo-ocular reflex (which controls the eye position in response to signals from the ear) has to be working properly and engaged. It has been noted in certain patients that when they lose the inner ear function, they begin to experience oscillopsia, the abnormal sense of movement in their visual field, as they are performing their daily routine.
Vertigo is a common symptom that comes from a disturbance of the inner ear and has to do with a malfunction of the vestibular system. Vertigo is not an actual condition. Instead, it is a symptom of a disease. You may look at it like the pain you feel in your leg after you bump into something. This may be due to a fracture, blood clots, or something else. Vertigo is similar. It can be produced for many different reasons.
Disorders That Cause Vertigo
Here is a brief list of the disorders that have vertigo as one of their symptoms:
- Labyrinthitis: An irritation and swelling of the inner ear causing vertigo and hearing loss.
- Acoustic neuroma: Benign growths coming from the balance nerve.
- BPPV or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo: The most common reason for vertigo, this occurs when you move your head in certain positions or when rolling over in bed. It has to do with misplaced crystals in the inner ear.
- Migraine associated vertigo: A migraine is known for throbbing head pain, nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sound.
- Cholesteatoma: A type of skin cyst located in the middle ear and mastoid bone in the skull.
- Meniere’s disease: A condition known for severe vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fluctuating hearing loss, and a feeling of fullness or congestion in the affected ear.
- Vestibular neuritis: An infection of the inner ear that inflames the nerves or the inner ear itself.
Some less common reasons for vertigo include:
- Otosclerosis: Change in the dense bone that houses the inner ear causing changes to inner ear function.
- Superior semicircular canal dehiscence: Loss of bone over the topmost part of the inner ear balance canals.
- Perilymphatic fistula: An abnormal connection between the inner ear and middle ear that allows for leakage of the fluid contained in the inner ear.
- Cervical vertigo: Abnormalities in the bones and muscles of the neck that lead to vertigo with specific head movements.
- Cerebrovascular accident or stroke: Vertigo is less commonly the only symptom of a stroke.
- Vertebrobasilar insufficiency: Decreased blood flow in the major blood vessels that go to the lower area of the brain, causing vertigo.
- Multiple Sclerosis: This is not usually the initial symptom of MS but can come about at some point.
- Chiari malformation: An anatomic abnormality existing at the base of the skull and causing vertigo.
How the Brain Adapts to Injury and Vertigo
When the inner ear is injured, the brain does something very impressive. It undergoes a complicated set of changes that allow it to begin once again to understand the altered sensory input and do away with the sensation of vertigo. This is referred to as vestibular compensation. It can take about 3 days for vertigo to become controlled. And it may take an addition 6 weeks for the brain to adapt to the new input it is now getting.
However, for some people, this is never complete and they continue to deal with vertigo. If this is true in your case and you are suffering from the debilitating effects of vertigo, we encourage you to come see us here at Perkins Family Wellness and Spinal Care in Farmington, Michigan, as we have seen positive results with our vertigo patients.
How Upper Cervical Chiropractic Helps Vertigo
It has been seen repeatedly that vertigo is connected to a blow to the head or neck. Many patients have noticed the onset of vertigo and disorders having vertigo as one of their symptoms after such things as vehicle accidents, trips, and falls, or sporting accidents. As upper cervical chiropractors, we understand the connection between a misalignment in the bones of the neck and how this can create the sensation of vertigo.
The brainstem lies in the area of the C1 and C2 vertebrae. A misalignment of these bones can put the brainstem under intense pressure, causing it to malfunction. This means it may begin sending improper signals to the brain about the body’s location. If the signals from the brainstem do not match the signals from the eyes and ears, the end result can be vertigo.
We use a gentle method that is based on scientific measurements to help realign the bones without having to resort to the use of force, meaning that we do not have to pop or crack the neck to get positive results. Many patients report a great improvement in symptoms, while some see their vertigo go away completely.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Perkins call 248-478-6203 or just click the button below area
if you are outside of the local area you can find an Upper Cervical Doctor near you at www.uppercervicalawareness.com.